The Death of Medical Expertise

The Death of Medical Expertise

“Americans have reached a point where ignorance, especially of anything related to public policy, is an actual virtue,” the scholar Tom Nichols writes in his timely new book, “The Death of Expertise.” “To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong about anything. It is a new Declaration of Independence: No longer do we hold these truths to be self-evident, we hold all truths to be self-evident, even the ones that aren’t true. All things are knowable and every opinion on any subject is as good as any other.”

The same seems to be permeating bioscience and medicine and the inevitable consequence will be the continued commodization of sick care with the patient experience as a customer becoming more important than the value of care delivered to a patient.

Even worse, like climbing walls and gourmet chefs in "universities" competing for the tuition dollar, the arms and experience race is vying for patient customers as hospitals become less and less relevant.

Examples include:

  1. The resurgence of the measles epidemic due to religious objections and bogus science about the correlation with autism.

  2. Commodity care and convenience care.

  3. Doctor and hospital beauty pageants based on Yelp and Google likes.

  4. The rise of faith based medical consumer products , like supplements and the latest darling, CBD.

  5. The myth of consumerism.

  6. Selling to patient "customers".

  7. Dismissing science.

  8. Trusting Dr. Google more that whatshername who saw you on that telemedicine gadget.

  9. Pitfalls in measuring the doctor-patient relationship.

  10. The pitfalls of DIY medicine.

The root cause of the death of expertise is the lack of trust. The problem with the death of medical experience is that to differentiate a commoditized product, companies and clinicians will revert to price and experience. Unfortunately that has little or nothing to do with the quality of the outcomes. Making it enjoyable doing something that is worthless represents about $1T of the US healthcare spend.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD.

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  • Curtis Timson

    Amazing read

  • Dan Humphrey

    RIP Modern Day Healthcare

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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